Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Beautiful Words

Most people agree, the three most beautiful words in the English language are “I love you.” I’ve found, though, that in some situations, other words are even more welcome.

When my wife was pregnant the first time, we were a little nervous. Her mother died in childbirth, so we knew there could be problems. The problems surfaced when she was placed on bed rest halfway through the eighth month. Two weeks later they started trying to gently induce labor, and spent three weeks on that. When that, too, failed, they used the more forceful method of Pitocin for two days, before finally giving up and resorting to a C-section. Under those circumstances, “It’s a boy!” was a very welcome phrase…second only to “Mother and child are doing fine.”

Our second child didn’t make us nervous for quite as long – we only went to the hospital so the doctor could check on his condition. Under those conditions, the phrases “the baby is under stress” and “emergency C-section” were unexpected and unpleasant. But a few hours later, as I held a healthy baby in my arms, I heard the nurse say “Your wife is waking up.” Surely I only imagined the angelic choir in the background.

A couple years later, I went away to war, leaving my two babies and their mother behind. During that seven month separation, my wife not only struggled along as a single parent while also dealing with the stress of a husband at war, she worked hard to make sure that my boys did not forget me. The memory of both of them reaching out to hug me while Michael called me “Daddy,” can still bring tears to my eyes.

Today Rita was rear-ended in her van. When she called to tell me about the minor accident, hearing her say “I’m not hurt,” immediately elevated that phrase near the top of the list of beautiful words.

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